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post #1 of 10 Old 07-05-2013, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Got it thx
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-05-2013, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JimmyLeggs View Post

Just got a 2 channel setup going and I'm loving it. It's all new to me seeing how we don't use a receiver for EVERYTHING smile.gif

Current System:
Rotel RCC 1055 - CD Player
Rotel Per-Amp and Power Amp

On hand:
Oppo 93 (Taken from HT rig)
WD TV Live

In essence you seem to be saying you had a nicely working system and for some reason decided regress your technology.

This in turn created an opportunity to spend more money. But you want to share the responsibility for spending that money with others.

Executive summary: You have time and money on your hands Could I recommend some charitable organizations?.
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Basically...how to get the best performance from an Analog rig using Digital tech :-)

Common sense answer: Make it more digital. One logical way to obtain the best possible sound quality is to keep the audio signal in the digital domain as close to your ears as you can.
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Not concerned about cables, rooms, speakers, acoustics etc at the moment...I know the importance and all, but one step at a time...first trying to see how to get my music to play the best I can without spending more money.

Of the above items, room acoustics and speakers look like the best bets for improving sound quality. Strangely enough, you seem to want to do just about anything else before exploiting them.
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-07-2013, 09:00 AM
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"One logical way to obtain the best possible sound quality is to keep the audio signal in the digital domain as close to your ears as you can."

Can you explain what you mean in the above quote? Are you talking about playing an Mp3 through a tube amp?
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-07-2013, 02:39 PM
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"One logical way to obtain the best possible sound quality is to keep the audio signal in the digital domain as close to your ears as you can."
Can you explain what you mean in the above quote? Are you talking about playing an Mp3 through a tube amp?
Where in the world did you get that? Digital does not mean (necessarily) MP3, and nobody's said anything about tube amps.

What I'm sure Arny really means is that it is best to keep the signal in digital until it is ready to hit the power amps. This both minimizes distortion and allows you to use digital signal processing in a variety of beneficial ways.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #5 of 10 Old 07-09-2013, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Brandon3858 View Post

"One logical way to obtain the best possible sound quality is to keep the audio signal in the digital domain as close to your ears as you can."

Can you explain what you mean in the above quote? Are you talking about playing an Mp3 through a tube amp?

No, let's not get sidetracked into tube alley. Basic takeaway: do all processing in the digital realm, where it can be done absolutely cleanly; once the signal is converted to analog, get it to the amps in as short and simple a path as possible.

For an extreme example of keeping the audio signal in the digital realm, have a look at some of the "direct digital" receivers, e.g. NAD C390DD. In such devices, the DAC is literally the output stage of the amp.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-09-2013, 09:32 AM
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I think I follow you. But if you could go down tube alley with me; are you saying a tube integrated amp would be "better" as a digital preamp sending a signal to a tube amp?
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-16-2013, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Brandon3858 View Post

I think I follow you. But if you could go down tube alley with me; are you saying a tube integrated amp would be "better" as a digital preamp sending a signal to a tube amp?

Um, no.

Tube Alley, good grief. Ok, I'll share some of my experience, but you really should listen to the more knowledgeable engineers who post here. I'm just a hobbyist whose curiosity got the better of me, kind of like where you are now, so maybe this will help you avoid the puddles in Tube Alley. There are lots of puddles, filled with stinky woo, down Tube Alley.

Be aware that tube circuits can sound as neutral as solid state, if they are well designed. This is fairly easy with tube line stages, i.e. somewhere in the signal path before amplification, such as within a hybrid tube/ss receiver, where the tubes are employed in the pre-amp stage. They can be as clean or as dirty as the designer intends, but it's easy to keep line level signals nice and clean. I prefer my front end to be squeaky clean, and see no real reason for tubes there. Tube amplifiers, on the other hand, when coupled with electro-mechanical transducers (speakers, or on the other end of the recording chain, microphones, disc cutters, etc) will display much more of the technical misbehavior responsible for the "tube sound".

Lets talk about "tube sound" a bit. This is a vague term that can allude to a whole host of phenomena, but the point is that most folks who use tubes do so for the sake of altering the presentation for pleasant effect. This is a form of non-defeatable signal processing, and as such deviates from the pursuit of high fidelity audio, hence why it is frowned upon here at AVS forums. It also tells me that if you're getting into it for the sake of altering the sound, upstream tubes make less sense than getting fully dirty with tube amps coupled to speakers.

Tube sound as produced by a tube amp coupled to speakers is typically characterized by a few things. First, the higher output impedance of the tube amp will result in non-linear response that reflects the impedance of the speaker across the audible band unique to that particular pairing. The closer the source impedance gets to the load impedance, the worse it gets. Also, the high source (amp) impedance also may result in room feedback, the so-called Carver effect, where the speakers become microphonic and pick up the room response which becomes part of the amplified signal. Think room-specific reverb. Second, tube amps will have much higher amounts of low order harmonic distortion than solid state amps. There is a close correlation between harmonic distortion and musical tone coloration; second order harmonics are an exact octave above the fundamental, thus are almost imperceptible and tend to add body to the sound; third order harmonics are a quint or twelfth to the fundamental, and tend to result in a closed in, covered sound. A strong second combined with a strong third will open up that covered sound. A strong second and third with significant amounts of fourth, fifth and sixth will result in a more brassy, open, choral tonality. Third, as tube amps overload (something you would never want to do with ss amps), their electrical output increases only slightly, but within that envelope the resulting increase in lower order harmonics are perceived as increased loudness (hence the claims of tube watts being somehow "more powerful" than other watts, which is ridiculous).

Are you starting to see the difficulty with advising anyone contemplating a trip down tube alley? Take two different tube amps, pair them with two pairs of speakers, and you will have four completely different results. Have two of those flowery prose writing reviewers in the mix and you get eight different subjective evaluations. It get's convoluted rather quickly, making it almost impossible to make sense of it all without some knowledge of electrical circuits or the history of hi-fi. And we haven't even scratched the surface of different tube amp topologies yet, e.g. PP tubes tend to cancel even order harmonics, where SET amps typically have both even and odd harmonics in copious amounts. SETs make for terrible amps, but they are somewhat compelling processors, I'll give them that much.

So are you sure you want to go down tube alley? I won't say categorically "don't do it", but strongly suggest you learn more before you jump in. Consider building your own tube gear, as it will be far more stimulating and educational, as well as much more cost effective.
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-16-2013, 08:40 AM
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I think I may be in the wrong forum as I am in awe of the sound my integrated tube amp put out. Yesterday I thought Duane Allman was actually in my living room. Much of your technical terms go way over my head, but I don't doubt the points you're making. At the end of the day, you just have to go with what sounds best to your ears; mine love tubes...especially my H. H. Scott Lk-48-B. I'm sure there are plenty of poorly sounding tube amps out there though.

Thanks for your input.
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-16-2013, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Brandon3858 View Post

"One logical way to obtain the best possible sound quality is to keep the audio signal in the digital domain as close to your ears as you can."

Can you explain what you mean in the above quote?

Yes.
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Are you talking about playing an Mp3 through a tube amp?

The above question is like asking: "Is a 5 tube AM radiio the apex of tubed audio?"

When I wrote:

"One logical way to obtain the best possible sound quality is to keep the audio signal in the digital domain as close to your ears as you can."

I was thinking of playing true CD quality audio through a high quality SS amplfier.
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-16-2013, 10:16 AM
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I used to own a Scott 299 that I liked too, as well as several others both bought and built, so I hear ya. There is nothing wrong with whatever approach to audio you wish to take, as long as it gets you digging into your music collection and tapping your toes. If you're willing to live with things like high output impedance and such, then you might dig tube alley. I personally could never live solely on tubes, the sheen gets monotonous after a while, but also find ss a bit boring for exlusive use as well. The vintage gear is a cost effective way to go. Brought back up to spec, they provide the sort of performace you can expect for modest cost, and they hold their value when/if you decide to exit tube alley.

As far as being in the wrong place, fellas around these parts get bent out of shape when unfounded claims are made, and they'll put your feet to the fire in those cases, for sure. But they seem tolerant enough of those of us who admit actually enjoying distortion.redface.gif

I often wonder if it's the case that so much is lost in the capture and recording process that the added embellishments of tube gear helps bring things back to life. Maybe they simply reproduce a distortion profile we grew up with. I'm dating myself here, but I'm a 70's kid, and love love love that era's rock music on my tube rig, it just fits like a glove to my sensibilities.
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